Here’s something that caught my eye: Researchers at the University of Vermont, in the Computational Story Lab (!), did an interesting word content analysis on 1,700 stories downloaded from Gutenberg. Each story had been downloaded at least 150 times by readers.
The researchers used “sentiment analysis” that measures the positive or negative emotional impact of words. Using a sliding window they attempted to characterize the “emotional arcs” of each story. Their goal was to see if there were common patterns.
Turns out, there are!
I was catching up on last week’s shows (a word about that in a moment), and it happened again, twice. It’s gotten to the point of almost becoming another “countdown game.” How long will it be until I hear it again? It might also make a drinking game for people who don’t like to drink all that much, because — while very common — it usually only appears once per story. (Still, multiple sightings have been documented.)
Being common yet infrequent, it wouldn’t normally stand out at all, but it struck me as such an odd thing to say (even the first time I heard it), that I’ve noticed it ever since. I suppose my love of LEO stories brings it my way more frequently. The most common context where you’ll hear it is from a suspect or person of interest being interviewed by cops.
It’s the line, “You gotta believe me!”
You may remember that early this year I said you should be thinking about elephants. I hope you have all been working on your assignments, because there are some important metaphorical discussions ahead concerning elephants.
And some jokes. Do you know why elephants are wrinkled? Because they’re very difficult to iron. And whatever do you do with an elephant with three balls? Walk him and pitch to the giraffe. [bah-rump-bump] (One pity about blogging… A line that bad really demands a rimshot, or other funny sound effect, for proper punctuation.)
Here’s another little gem from my collection. Just love a good punch line!
This is the first of a series of articles that discuss something I believe is unique to humans. In fact, I think it’s one of the few things we can point to that does differentiate us from the animal kingdom. And it is something that goes deep into our past. It is our ability to use language to create and tell complex stories.
It is also one of my favorite topics. If you’ve read many of my posts, particularly those about movies and TV, you’ve seen me write about my love of stories.
There is an interesting continuum of storytelling modes. Books lie at one end; movies at the other. Plays and TV lie between. The continuum describes—in part—the experience of the audience. Here’s the deal…